To the editor:
(re: “Best schools shouldn’t be determined by a test,” July 26)
I disagree with the premise that the specialized high school admissions test should be relegated to a small part of the information used to select students for the specialized high schools like Bronx Science.
I taught chemistry at Bronx Science, and was also a college mentor who wrote letters to accompany college application materials. I am well aware of the sacrifices that the majority Asian students have made to get into Bronx Science and Stuyvesant, and to succeed there.
Remember that the tests only contain English and math segments. The Asian students I knew often did not speak English at home. If their English was in need of improvement, they would take English classes on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays.
Their parents were both demanding and supportive. And they put the same effort into succeeding while in high school, and into preparing for college.
They see graduate degrees and MDs as their goal from the beginning, and are relentless in their studies to succeed.
I had many Asian students get into the finest colleges and universities. One young lady had the choice of MIT, University of Chicago and Stanford. A young man who lived in Queens, working 40-plus hours a week (including weekends) at a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan until closing and commuted home only to return to the Bronx the next morning, ended up with a 3.86 average, and got into his first choice, Carnegie Mellon, for engineering.
There was a time in its heyday, notable for the number of Nobel Prizes earned by former students of that era, that Bronx Science was predominantly Jewish. These students possessed a strong worth ethic and had supportive and demanding parents, much like the Asian students today. Why was there no demand to change the entrance requirements?
Hard work and deep sacrifice should be rewarded. The current Bronx Science students will, I have no doubt, continue to bring accolades to the school.
The current entrance requirements are fair, and should not be changed.
Robert F. Drake